About the general strike on 8th July
Written by Sotiris Martalis*   
Monday, 19 July 2010 03:06

Dear comrade Didi**, 

I send you a brief report about the general strike on Thursday, 8th of July.

With the approval by the parliament of the new law about the social security system and the new labor law on Thursday 8/7/2010 a round is over. It’s the end of the first round of the working people’s struggle against the government and the “troika” (European Comission, European Central Bank, IMF). This first round is ending with the 7th general strike since the social-democrats were elected as a government last October and the 6th general strike this year.  

The general strike was successful and the demonstrations in the big cities were large, although they weren’t as big as the ones on the general strike on 5th of May (which was the greatest moment of the movement). Between the general strikes, many different sectors went on strike and they continue to struggle. The Public Transport (busses, subways), the dockworkers, hospital workers, doctors and others organized significant strikes. Even now, as I am writing this report, Tuesday 13th of July, civil servants (employed by regional authorities, municipalities etc) are occupying the town halls (the regional governments’ headquarters) in many cities. The people working on the social security system plan to occupy the buildings of the service tomorrow. On Thursday, 15 of July, the public sector workers are calling for a work-stoppage and a demonstration outside the parliament. 

The latest opinion polls show that the bourgeoisie political parties gather the lowest support ever in history, while 90% of the people asked rejects the government’s policies The working class has fought and it continues to fight this battle and the next round is going to be really intense. Despite that, the question remains: Why the latest general strikes didn’t reach the scale of the one of 5th of May? One first reason is the way the trade-union bureaucracy is organizing the fight. They don’t keep up the pressure, they leave a long time distance between each general strike, they call for the general strikes but they don’t seriously organize them in working places.

To this reason, we can add the sectarian tactics of the trade-unionists connected to the Communist Party of Greece (a reformist-Stalinist party). I will just mention that they organize their own demonstrations, kilometers away from the main trade-union demonstration. But the main problem, that puts the pressure to workers whether to strike or not. is the lack of an alternative solution, of a political perspective against the ruling class attacks. In this subject, the Left didn’t manage to rise to occasion; It didn’t manage to produce a political expression of the movement that is fighting this war.

In the days and months to come, the working class will feel the effects of these reactionary policies in its everyday life. And these policies will deepen the crisis, by creating a whole “army” of unemployed people. These facts will eventually open a new round of confrontation with the government and the “troika”, with their efforts to implement the laws they voted.

Inside the trade-unions the conversation about the next steps is already on. They have decided: 

A demonstration the first days of September, when Thessaloniki International Fair is organized (Thessaloniki International Fair is an annual commercial event, during which the prime minister usually announces the economic policy for the next season). In the middle of September, mobilizations against the arrival of “troika” officials, who are coming to Greece to check the progress of their policies and to ask for new austerity measures.

On the 29th of September, to organize and take part to the pan-European strike action. The battle in front of us is really crucial. If they win, it is going to be a really harsh defeat for working people, and not only in Greece. If we win, it is going to be an even harsher defeat for the rulling class, because their whole political system puts its weight behind this policy. If their policies are defeated, this will create a whole new perspective not only for Greece, but for all Europe.

All the best

* Sotiris Martalis is a Leader of the ADEY - Civil Servants National Union of Greece

** Didi is a leader of CONLUTAS - Workers and Popular Federation of Brazil  

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